National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) has been designated by Congress as a time for communities, schools and families to raise awareness and provide solutions to teen driver crashes, the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. A stat highlighted by the DMV in CA, in 2008, more than 4,200 teens aged 16-19 years of age died in the U.S., and more than 400,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes.
Today, Vlingo revealed new data regarding teen driver distractions from our annual consumer habits survey.
Vlingo Corporation released new data regarding teen distracted driving habits today from its second annual Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report as the nation prepares for National Teen Driver Safety Week October 18-24. The Vlingo report finds 60 percent of teens admit to reading incoming text messages while driving.
Text messaging has overtaken the phone as the primary communications medium for teens. According to the Vlingo study, 94 percent of teens use their mobile phones to send text messages. Fifty-four percent send more than 500 text messages per month and 79 percent send more text messages than make phone calls. Teens use text messaging primarily to communicate with friends (72 percent).
While 62 percent of teens support making driving while texting (DWT) illegal, only 34 percent favor making it illegal if a hands-free solution was available. Notably, teens are in favor of technology that would make DWT safer. Ninety percent of teens would use a technology solution that let them speak text and email messages by voice and have incoming messages read to them while driving instead of typing.
“The use of text messaging will only increase, and will continue to take place on the roads as this generation gets older and others follow in their footsteps,” said Dave Grannan, CEO of Vlingo. “However, today’s teens have demonstrated that they are eager to adopt new technologies, particularly options that improve road safety. It is our responsibility to look into innovative solutions that embrace these consumer usage trends to make the roads safer.”
Data from Vlingo’s Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report also showed that laws do not necessarily stop dangerous DWT activity. The report shows that two of the top five worst offending states (TN, NJ, AL, ID, OK) have some form of DWT/mobile phone ban in place or pending (one of which is focused solely on young drivers). Of the five states with the best records (AZ, VT, RI, OH, MI), only Rhode Island has a ban on DWT and it only applies to those under the age of 18. As of September 2009 only nine states ban driving while texting for teenagers and only 40 percent of teenagers are aware if their state has a ban on driving while texting.
As lawmakers discussed the dangers of driving while texting and a potential nationwide ban at last month’s Distracted Driving Summit, the nation is coming up on National Teen Driver Safety Week October 18-24, which Congress designated in 2007 to highlight the epidemic of teen car crashes in the US. Teen driver safety recommendations can be found here http://www.ridelikeafriend.com/organizer/?p=recommend.
Erin Keleher, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Vlingo